Dubai, August 9:

India was Dubai’s top trading partner in gold in the first half of 2008, according to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

India, Switzerland and Canada were the top importers of gold from Dubai while India, Malaysia and Switzerland were the top exporters to the emirate, said a report issued by DMCC here.

Gold trade through Dubai touched $13.07 billion in the first half of 2008, an increase of 48 per cent from $8.84 billion in the same period last year.

During the period under review, a total of 265 tonnes of gold was imported into Dubai, the report said. During the same period, gold exports from Dubai reached 179 tonnes, an increase of 26 per cent from 142 tonnes in 2007.

The price of gold averaged $910 per ounce during the first half of 2008, a significant leap upwards from $650 per ounce over the same period last year.

“The demand for gold has been resilient under the global market conditions. Despite high volatility in prices, gold trade through Dubai continued to surge, reiterating the emirate’s prominence as a global centre for gold and precious metals,” said Ian MacDonald, executive director for gold and precious metals at the DMCC.

MacDonald added, “The sharp rise in prices seen earlier this year has been a prime

driver in improving export volumes, and has boosted the role of gold as an inflation-hedging instrument.”

According to McDonald, given the current bullish sentiment of investors and ‘gold’s safe haven status’, the outlook for gold trade was promising in the remaining months of 2008.

He also said the region would witness more initiatives in a shift towards gold exchange traded funds (ETF). Earlier this year, DMCC, in association with the World Gold Council, launched the Islamic finance-compliant gold shares, the first dollar-priced security of its kind, to be listed on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX).